Museum at Eldridge Street

12 Eldridge St.

Eldridge-Street-Project-007The Eldridge Street Synagogue opened its doors at 12 Eldridge St. on Sept. 4, 1887, just in time for the Jewish High Holidays. Hundreds of newly arrived immigrants from Russia and Poland gathered here to pray, socialize and build a community. It was the first time in America that Jews of Eastern Europe had built a synagogue from the ground up.

Dozens of Stars of David decorate the façade. Here in America, Jews could worship openly and freely. The synagogue was a proud declaration of newfound religious freedom for the synagogue’s immigrant founders. The synagogue was also emblematic of their economic aspirations. With its soaring 50-foot ceiling and exuberant Moorish-style interior, Eldridge Street provided an inspiring contrast to the crowded tenements, factories and shops of the Lower East Side.

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